Summer is nearly upon us, and with summer comes all the outdoor physical activities that ever Coloradan loves. The Denver cardiologists at South Denver Cardiology love this time of year for two reasons. For them, it’s not only a chance to get outside and away from the office, but also a time for their patients to do the same. Physical activity is vital to good heart health, and one great way to be physically active in the summer is hiking. In Colorado, hiking is a time-old tradition. With so much majestic beauty about, deciding to take a hike is practically an obvious choice every day. Hiking can be an excellent cardiovascular activity because you are constantly in motion, as well as good strength training due to the numerous elements of resistance you will run into.
However, hiking is a broad activity, and can require different levels of fitness as well as hiking knowledge depending on the area. Knowing what, where, and when to hike is important to staying safe while enjoying our beautiful backyard at the same time.
There is a major difference between hiking a fourtneer (a mountain that peaks above 14,000 feet) and hiking in a reservoir in the plains. Terrain, altitude, distance and wildlife all come into play when hiking and you need to be prepared for what lies ahead before setting out on your hike. If you haven’t been particularly active in the last year, or you’ve just returned from an extended visit to sea-level, then hiking a fourtneer may not be the best decision. Not only are you likely to gasp for what little air exists during the climb, you will also struggle to keep up with the physical requirements that accompany mountain hiking. Ascending a mountain can sometimes require an entire day’s worth of large steps, bouldering, and inauspicious terrain for your feet. If you aren’t prepared, you may face sudden maladies like high altitude pulmonary edema or severe dehydration.
Furthermore, the drawback to hiking out in the wilderness is that you are in fact, in the wild. There are animals like mountain lions and bears that don’t take kindly to humans encroaching upon their territory. Temperatures can drop rapidly in the evening hours as well, making getting lost in the evening not ideal. The point is, hiking is an amazing activity that every Coloradan can enjoy, but you want to make sure you are smart. Stay informed, and know your limitations before embarking on a hike. Take the time to research the area you intend to hike, including wildlife, difficulty, terrain, and trail-length.
How To Use This Information
At South Denver Cardiology, our Denver cardiologists love hiking season. It’s time to get out and have a good time, but we want to remind you to stay smart. If you have any questions about your heart’s capabilities for certain more strenuous hikes, then don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with us on our website, or call us at 303-744-1065